Dou Kani, the chief executive of Power Japan Plus, pushes what looks to be a standard lithium-ion battery across a conference table, the type of battery that powers everything from $30 flashlights to $90,000 electric cars.
Except the silver cylinder contains no lithium oxide. Nor any expensive rare earth metals. It won’t catch fire if punctured. And unlike lithium ion batteries, it can be charged and discharged thousands of times without losing its energy capacity, its creator claims. Oh, and Power Japan Plus’ battery also generates more power than a lithium battery and can charge 20 times as fast.
Translation: Cheaper long-range electric cars that can travel hundreds of miles on a charge and be juiced up in minutes rather than hours.
The only electric vehicle currently on the market that can go close to 300 miles on a charge is Tesla Motors’s Model S, which sports a massive and expensive lithium-ion battery pack. You can be excused for thinking this seems too good to be true. (Nearly a decade ago, a Texas startup called EEStor attracted millions of dollars from prominent Silicon Valley investors based on its claims to have developed a battery-like capacitor that would make long-range electric cars affordable. The company has yet to deliver on its promises.)